Hey there readers — I’m pretty excited to be here at The O.W.L.! My name is Jonathan Auxier, and I just wrote a brand-spanking-new book called Peter Nimble & His Fantastic Eyes! It’s the story of a ten year-old blind orphan who also happens to be the greatest thief who ever lived. Today, I thought I’d talk to you a little bit about where I got the idea for my story.
Most every writer out there gets asked where their ideas come from. Whenever I’m asked this question, I tell people that I get ideas the same way Peter Nimble gets treasure: I steal them!
Now before you call the cops, let me explain. Pretty much every good idea is really a combination of older ideas. I mean, whatare “ideas” other than observations about the sights, smells, sounds, and stories all around us? My job as a writer is to keep my eyes and ears open, absorbing as many of these details as possible — jokes I’ve read in magazines, funny signs in shop windows, a new word I’ve never heard before. Eventually these bits will connect with one another to form a story!
And how do I store all this wonderful material? I keep it in one of these!
Every writer and artist I know uses a journal of some kind to put down the things they see. Sometimes I have more words than pictures:
And every once in a while, I have an idea for a new character whomay just end up having his very own book!
It’s never too early to start journaling! All you need is a pen, a notebook, and open eyes! Here are some journaling tips I’ve learned along the way:
2) Stay away from “I”. An artist journal is different from a diary. In a diary, you write about yourself; in a journal, you write about everything but yourself! Just take notes about the different things you encounter — eventually all those entries will become a sort of personal reference library for when you want to tell a story.
3) Your Journal is NOT a work of art! Don’t worry about making it pretty — no one’s looking over your shoulder. A journal should get beat up. Words should be scribbled out. Rip pages out when you need scrap paper. Use it as a seat when you’re on wet grass. When you break your pen, use spit and a jelly bean to draw a picture (I have done this)!
4) Never leave the house without it. I promise that the one time you leave your journal at home will be the one time you’ll wish you had it!
5) Write at least one thing down every day. It doesn’t have to be a lot — just put something down. Doing this will keep you in the habit of paying attention to the world around you. Also, all of those short entries will eventually add up to something pretty impressive …
That’s it for me! If you want, come visit my website,www.TheScop.com, where I have information about Peter Nimble as well as a collection of pictures from my journals — and feel free to tell me about your own artist journal. Happy scribbling!
If you’d like to win a copy of
Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes: